Karen Cunneen Bilbow works are inspired greatly by her love for nature and connection to Irish wildlife and flowers.
Karen’s first-ever solo exhibition ‘Material World’ is on display in the Bridge Creative Art Centre and Gallery
By I Love Limerick correspondent Ellie McCarthy
Karen Cunneen Bilbow is an Irish textile artist and lampshade maker based here in Limerick. Karen loves to create uplifting art that is full of energy, textures, and vibrant colours.
A previous graduate of the Limerick School of Art and Design, Karen’s work is inspired greatly by her love for nature and connection to Irish wildlife and flowers.
Karen’s artwork reflects the wonder at what we locally have to offer and not forget the treasure that we have in the beautiful Irish landscapes, especially the West and of course, the Wild Atlantic Way.
The medium Karen loves working with the most is fabrics, in particular textures, threads, and especially Irish wool. Depth and texture are really showcased in her woollen artworks.
Karen sources her wool from local farmers and artisans in Cork, Galway, and Kerry woollen mills. Some of the wool is hand dyed with natural dyes from nature which gives an element of sustainability to her work. Along with this, she also enjoys using upcycled fabrics and denim in her creations. Sustainability is extremely important to Karen.
Karen’s speciality is commissioned work and keepsake personalised pieces, along with local landmarks. These have a wide overseas audience as they make a great home away from home gifts and keepsakes for those living abroad.
What makes Karen’s artwork unique is her use of a domestic sewing machine to free-motion stitch her work. This is a process where you play with the tension on the machine and utilise the thread and needle to draw just like a pencil.
Karen caters to a broad clientele she creates handmade lampshades, textile paintings, interior design pieces, cushions, aprons, and tote bags. All pieces are handmade and there is truly something for everyone.
Karen’s first-ever solo exhibition ‘Material World’ is on display in the Bridge Creative Art Centre and Gallery in Ballina, Tipperary. The exhibition is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 12 pm to 6 pm. The show will run until Sunday, November 6.
Karen also holds some of her lampshade-making and needle-felting wool workshops in The Bridge. These workshops are open to everyone.
Karen also runs workshops with home economics and art departments in secondary schools on textiles and sustainability as she wants to spread her message to a younger generation.
Check out Karen Cunnen Bilbow and her amazing artwork
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